Rob Gronkowski Jokes About Being 'Blocking Tight End' amid Diminished Bucs' Role

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski had some fun with the fact that he has been targeted only four times through his first two games with the team.

While addressing the media Friday, Gronk called himself a "blocking tight end" when asked about the lack of action he has seen in the passing game:

Eduardo A. Encina 😷 @EddieInTheYard

Gronk: “I’m a blocking tight end. I came to block, baby,” 🎥 from today’s Gronk presser, where Gronk emphasizes he’s a blocking tight end. #GoBucs #Bucs #BroncosCountry #Patriots #nfl #NFLTwitter https://t.co/WPSEjHjLBp

The 31-year-old retired after the 2018 season, and at the time, he was one of the most prolific pass-catching tight ends of all time with 521 receptions for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns in nine seasons with the New England Patriots.

Gronk came out of retirement after not playing last season and was traded to the Bucs. Given his connection and friendship with quarterback Tom Brady, who also went from New England to Tampa, expectations were high for Gronkowski.

Despite averaging 48 offensive snaps over the Bucs' first two games, however, Gronkowski hasn't been the focus of Brady's attention.

Gronk made just two catches for 11 yards in his Week 1 debut against the New Orleans Saints, and he was then held without a catch while being targeted only once in last week's win over the Carolina Panthers.

Brady has largely looked toward wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller, and Gronk has also been out-produced by tight end O.J. Howard, who has five receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown.

In a sign that Gronk's blocking may be helping the team thrive, however, running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries last week.

The 6'6", 265-pounder has always been known for making big-time catches and scoring touchdowns, but he has long been heralded as one of the best blocking tight ends in the game as well.

That hasn't changed in Tampa, but one can only assume that Gronk will become a bigger part of the passing game as the season progresses because of his experience playing alongside Brady.


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